Lennox Lewis pours cold water on Deontay Wilder's Mike Tyson claim

Lennox Lewis, right, has hit back and Deontay Wilder's claim he would've beaten Mike Tyson, left. DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

Former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis has responded to Deontay Wilder's claim that he would beat a peak Mike Tyson.

WBC king Wilder (39-0, 38 KOs) sparked controversy when he told TMZ: "Me vs. Tyson in '86, I'd kick the hell outta that guy.

"Listen, I've got to keep it real. I know people always go back to the old school or look at the new school and there's no school where I'm not No. 1 on earth."

Lewis, who held WBC, WBA and IBF crowns, and stopped Tyson in his penultimate bout in June 2002, said via social media: "I just heard Deontay Wilder said he would destroy a young Mike Tyson. My thoughts are that it's easy to talk until you actually get in the ring.

"I like Wilder but he's never been in there with someone that ferocious who truly wants to break his ribs with every punch. I don't see it!

"I love Deontay Wilder's confidence. You need that to sit atop the heavyweight division. He's hungry and shows up in probably the best shape in division but there are levels to it and he's still adding to his arsenal.

"My best advice to the entire crop of young heavyweight champs is to focus on being the best of YOUR era out of respect and reality. It's unprovable. Of course people asked but I found no need to speculate or compare myself to my idol [Muhammad] Ali or any other of the past greats.

"History will decide your place among the all-time greats so go out there, clean up the division, defend your title, reign supreme and your work will speak for itself."

Wilder is currently preparing to defend his strap against Luis Ortiz on March 3.